A few years ago, I asked the doctor who was then my cardiologist to comment on peri-peri sauce. The cardiologist, you see, was from South Africa. I had just had my first taste of peri-peri sauce, purchased from a British specialty shop in Grapevine, Texas, and wondered whether it was “the real thing.” He suggested I visit a Nando’s Peri-Peri outlet in the Washington, DC area at the next opportunity to taste what he considered the real deal. He had no idea whether what I bought was the real deal or not. Later, I bought Nando’s brand peri-peri sauce; my original purchase was the real deal, as well.
I have yet to visit Nando’s, but I learned today the chain, which has a significant presence in Wsahington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, has launched in Illinois, with two restaurants in the Chicago area. I have, though, tasted Nando’s peri-peri sauce and have compared it to the stuff I bought at the British market. The differences are inconsequential. The real differences are within the two brands; one can buy mild, hot, or extra hot. Neither brand’s extra hot is particularly hot, not painfully so. Thus, I would recommend the extra hot.
Somewhere along the line I stumbled across peri-peri powder, a ground version of the pepper used to make the sauce. It’s hot, but not nuclear. Yet I don’t know quite how to use it. Peri-peri chicken is the South African favorite (or, depending on where you look, it might be a Portuguese favorite that’s made with South African peppers); I haven’t tried the ground peri-peri with chicken, but I shall. I’m just waiting for the perfect opportunity.
As I was exploring Nando’s, I discovered the chain has locations in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, the UK, and the aforementioned USA sites. Actually, I discovered that quite some time ago. The correct term is, I suppose, is rediscovered. I wonder when Nando’s will find its way to Hot Springs or Little Rock or Dallas or Memphis?
By the way, I want to buy an electric smoker. And when I do, I will use some of my ground peri-peri on the chicken I smoke. And you will be jealous. Do not feel bad, though. You are invited to come try my first batch. When can I expect you? I need to get the guest room ready.
Is the British store still there in Grapevine?